Monday, 8 February 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer advise the House of the importance of sound fiscal policy to our transitioning economy. How important is it that any new spending be accompanied by offsetting savings to ensure a balanced budget and to create jobs and growth?
I thank the member for La Trobe for his question. He knows that the global economic times at present are very uncertain—there is a lot of volatility. Those opposite seem to scoff at that, but that is a reality and I know that that is a matter of some concern to Australians, whether it is in the electorate of the member for La Trobe or elsewhere. In these types of times it is very important that, as a government, we continue to do everything we possibly can to strengthen, not weaken, our financial position. We must strengthen our financial position. We need to do everything we can in this transitioning economy, which is successfully transitioning, to back Australians who are out there every day making that transition successful. The ANZ job ads figures show that we have had an 11.2 per cent increase over the past year. That is good news. December quarter retail sales figures were up, and that is also good news.
The Reserve Bank governor has constantly made the point that we are seeing this economy successfully transition, but our role in all of that is to back Australians in by ensuring that we have the strongest financial position that we can possibly have. The way you do that is that if you are going to pursue new measures, if you need to spend more on very important things, you fund them from savings—not through higher taxes, which is the approach of those on the other side. We are seeking to put through some very important new expenditures to support families being able to afford child care in this country. That is not an inexpensive proposition. But we on this side of the House have identified more than $3 billion in savings to pay for that important new expenditure.
Ms Macklin interjecting—
Those opposite want to take the spending but they do not want to support the saving. That is a recipe for fiscal disaster. We on this side of the House understand the need to keep things in balance. Those opposite have a big problem. They have said they want to reverse $30 billion in savings that we have already been able to move through this parliament, they do not support some $13 billion more in savings which is part of government policy, most of which is being blocked by those opposite, and they have committed to an extra $14 billion just since the last budget—they are racking up some $57 billion in commitments. What do they have to pay for them? They have identified $1.2 billion in savings over the next four years—just $1.2 billion—to pay for $57 billion worth of expenditure commitments. And they have $7.6 billion in higher taxes. The contrast is clear—the plan of those opposite is to tax and spend and borrow. Our plan is to ensure that we back Australians in who are working, saving and investing.